Home Economics

The answer to the problem of housing will be not be traditional. Yet, the questions searching for that answer typically are.

The British pavilion at this year’s Venice Architecture Biennale is structured less around space and more around time, which is definitely non-traditional. Architecture is space - but how we use space changes over time. Non-traditional designers Finn Williams, Jack Self, and Shumi Bose hope to design space by quality rather than function, space that is reactive to changing needs over time.

The answer to the problem of housing will require a progressive, non-traditional design that is resilient to the changing needs of individuals, families, and society. The British Pavilion seems to be asking the right questions.

Open-Source Architecture

"Out of the 3 billion people living in cities today, 1 billion is under the line of poverty. By 2030 out of the 5 billion people that will be living in cities, 2 billion are going to be under the line of poverty. That means that we will have to build a 1 million people city per week with 10,000 dollars per family. Given the magnitude of the housing shortage, we won’t solve this problem unless we add people’s own resources and building capacity to that of governments and market. That is why we thought of putting in place an OPEN SYSTEM able to channel all the available forces at play. In that way people will be part of the solution and not part of the problem."

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The Cult of Jane Jacobs

Jane Jacobs was a self-taught pioneer of urban planning who found herself pitted against the almost unstoppable forces of Robert Moses and the rise of car-culture. She advocated designing to local conditions over imposing a universal principle of design. With common sense ideas on how we live in a city and the choices we must make on urban development, she continues to garner praise and deserve study today. We can appreciate her past as we look to our future and remember that history repeats itself... in a new context.

Bowery Boys

Velocipedia: The role of the designer.

The data gathered by this artist showcases the role of the designer. The task was for random individuals to simply draw a bicycle. These were laymen, friends and random strangers without technical knowledge, but an understanding of the goal. In these rudimentary sketches, full of errors and possibility, the designer finds elegance. He confirms his thesis:

everyone, regardless his age and job, can come up with extraordinary, wild, new and at times brilliant inventions.

The role of the designer is to recognize the possibilities and develop them; it is not to correct errors. Listen to your client, community, or muse - they will likely surprise you with their potential to contribute to "your" design.

SMPTE color bars!

Blurred lines and spatial relationships in a design conceived of as an inhabitable painting in the shape of a house... The success of work like this is the explosion of possibility in the viewer's mind's eye. You can see in it for yourself and make your own reality, like it's 3a.m. and the only thing on TV is the test pattern and you're all right with that, because you're dreaming.